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Timberwolves hand Pacers 10th straight loss

Mar 14, 2007 - 5:32 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett and rookie Randy Foye sparked a big fourth-quarter run to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to an 86-81 victory over the stumbling Indiana Pacers.

Indiana led, 67-58, after three but scored only one point in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter and suffered its 10th straight loss.

Garnett scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Foye had 16 points for Minnesota (28-35), which now trails the Los Angeles Clippers by just one game for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Garnett and Foye both played big roles in the Timberwolves' fourth-quarter comeback, sparking an 18-1 run to start the period that turned a nine-point deficit into a 76-68 lead with 4:43 to play.

"We struggled when we hit a drought (in the fourth quarter). They started getting easy scores," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "The first six minutes (of the fourth quarter) was our undoing tonight. We had a great third quarter, but didn't end it well. We were still in good shape though, but in the first six minutes we couldn't put the ball in the basket."

A jumper and dunk by Garnett started the spurt and Foye added five points, including a 3-pointer off an assist from Garnett that capped the run.

"We got beat up a little bit in the first half, but in the second half we did a better job of moving the ball and making some shots," Garnett said. "In the first half, the defense was decent, we just could make shots. In the second half we sort of combined the two and were able to make a run."

Jamaal Tinsley had a career-high 37 points and added six assists and six rebounds for Indiana. It was his second game back from a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.

"That don't mean nothing. I'd take it all back to get a win," Tinsley said of setting his career high. "It was a game that we had a chance to win but fell short. How many points I scored doesn't matter if we don't get the victory. This is just disappointing."

The Pacers were without Jermaine O'Neal for a third consecutive game due to his sprained left knee.

"It was real tough. Over this losing streak I think we've given our best effort on both ends of the court," Tinsley said. "Tonight we outplayed them for three quarters and then made a couple of mistakes, not getting lose balls, not helping each other on defense, and then they made their shots in the end. They got in their zone and made us shoot perimeter jump shots."

While Indiana is in a free-fall and in danger of falling completely out of the playoff picture in the East, Minnesota is still in the running for the eight spot in the West. Just 3-7 in their last 10 games despite the win over the Pacers, the Timberwolves are tied with Sacramento, one game behind the Los Angeles Clippers.

"I feel very lucky to be still in a position where if we can get on any kind of mini roll here then we'll have an opportunity to play for something in these last 20 games," Minnesota interim coach Randy Wittman said. "I think I owe it to (the players) to play to get into the playoffs. That's why you play. You don't play in order to get a better draft pick. I don't even care about the draft pick, to be honest with you. I think that I would be doing (the players) a disservice. I am responsible for winning games."








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